Another thing I’ve discovered –

I’d put a couple of posts on the blog from what I wrote for NaNo – simplifying what I had for NaNo greatly – but I’ve looked at the notebook again this morning – well, I’ve looked at it a few times, and couldn’t make head nor tail of most of it – I was looking for parts that I could edit – it doesn’t work that way for me.

In what I did post, I missed out that the old woman had come from the mountains that were behind her when she was crossing the plain – where else could she have come from?

I’d missed out that authorial, as I’d come to see it, ‘stage-direction’ – ‘where else could she have come from?’

But I hadn’t looked at what I had called ‘Preface’, and which I will now, I think, call ‘Frontispiece’ – that led into this idea of the story opening up through the author in some way – I included in the first NaNo manuscript some paragraphs that had ‘leaked’ into autobiographical posts in – an earlier manifestation of my blog.

And – you have to, I think (and there was a time when I didn’t think this), start from the beginning – wherever your beginning happens to be – and work through from there.

In the past, I’ve tried to ‘patch in’ in the middle of scenes and so on – that I couldn’t do at the time – but the ‘patched-in’ parts never fitted properly.

And the quality of my writing changes over time.

I think, if I seem to be at a dead end with something, I shouldn’t leave it, go further on in the story, with the idea of going back to it – cut, instead.

This is where my thoughts are at the moment.

Before her, the last crowd was passing through the gates.

She was behind them all, so far behind as to be alone.

She needed to get through those gates before they closed for the night.

She limped ahead, leaning on her staff.

She was close to the gates but they were shutting.

And then they held.

A gate-guard, who she hardly saw, but who she heard – “Come on through, Mother.”

She stumbled at the entrance, but steadied herself, grasping the ebony of the held-open gate.

She skipped the last few feet as though she wasn’t one-hundred-and-three.

“No,” Isla said. “You need to write characters that are – not nice -“

“But I don’t want to . . . I want my characters to be . . . people that are liked . . .”

“What you’re really saying is that you don’t want readers to think you are capable of knowing there is badness in people!”

“Oh!  That’s not fair!  I’m only young.  I haven’t had time to meet bad people . . .”

“Yet!  Except – I don’t believe that for a minute!  What about Rob Roy at school?  He should have been called Robber Roy!  If he was in this workshop now . . .”

“Oh, he only borrowed my eraser that time . . .”

“And rubbed out all my homework so that Miss Gubbins thought I hadn’t done it!”

“Hmm.  But that wouldn’t happen these days, now that we’re using our darn phones for every single thing . . .

“I wouldn’t put it past Robber Roy to have figured that angle already!” said Isla.  “But, look, you can’t just create cosy characters when we’re working with titles like ‘Valkyrie’!”

“Oh – I never wanted to come here in the first place, but you made me!”

“That’s the spirit!  What would Valkyrie Valerie make someone like me do, if I was a warrior against Robber Roy in a battle?”

“Oh, you’re making things too difficult!

“Yes!  Now you’re getting it!  He makes things too difficult!  Valkyrie Valerie thinks I’m a bad lot!  Off with my head!  Or would that be Queen Guinevere?. . . the point is – how to avoid a weak ending?  Everything we do seems to lead to that . . .

I’ve gone into the blog, decided I would leave some ‘likes’ all over the place – play the game, in fact, in order to get some back –

I read something Marguerite had up there, got bored with it half way through – I don’t ‘like’ it.

Same with KeepInTouch’s post – they bring something up, and I either don’t care, or I think they are – basically – stupid.

Part of it is that I’m British, and American relationships – which people seem to write about so often – seem saccharine-sweet to me, sometimes – you get used to watching it on Netflix and through Hollywood films – but it isn’t real in a British sense – last time I looked most British relationships were healthier than that.

However, both of those – Marguerite and KeepInTouch – seem to have given up on me at the moment, and I don’t feel like giving anything back at all.

They both suck.

Someone else, though – TeachSpell – she only very rarely comes to my site these days, but I still left a ‘like’ on hers – I don’t always agree with what she says, but I appreciate the effort she puts in there – she is working with a relative’s writing – they might publish as a co-op.  Rather them than me, but still . . .

So, I suppose it depends on the person – KeepInTouch I really have not much in common with – I agree with so little of what she says – and Marguerite – she is too young for me, as it turns out (that isn’t it, either – I read other young people’s blogs – people much younger than I am – and those are okay) – oh, Marguerite said she was going to do life-story, which I would have been interested in, but she hasn’t . . . sick of waiting.

An old woman in a long cloak; she leans on a staff.

Across the deserted landscape, she approaches twin town gates, mountains her backdrop.

Her eyes are hidden within a soft, fluted hood, but they glare out.

No one can see, but she can.

She tapped into a vein of anger, one that had been bled many times over the past months.

She closed her eyes within the hood, still walking, meditated for a few moments on that hard knot.

What had been in her mind dissipated as vapour over that dust.

What is it that I am looking for in the blogging scene?

I am circumspect in what I say.  This is for a start.

I am looking for writing – not so much ‘good blogs’ as good writing.

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

It needs to be as good as someone can make it.

It doesn’t matter – I was going to say ‘about its genre’, but I don’t like most romance.  I have read some romances that are not genre.  I have read romantic scenes within writing that is not genre.  I have read some romances that are genre that I recognise as good writing.  But I don’t easily choose ‘romance’.

I have been trying to say this for a long time.

I don’t want chat-sites.

I don’t want Facebook take-offs.

. . . the photographs over the old blanket that I have spread my bed with, that a deliberate act but belonging to another story; I remember when my mother bought those blankets, two of them now spread upon my bed under which I sleep at night thinking memories may permeate them and into my dreams.

Smiler’s photographs (I called her that; she had a lovely smile and smiled a lot, this old woman whose age I now approach – not there yet – practically immobile, she was, and I dash this, a mode I keep on falling into).

Histories mixed upon that blanket.

My mother was so pleased with them, two alike.

She had inherited old grey and brown and beige – I’ve said this before – from her mother who –

These, with pink as a frame top and bottom to their grey.

So new those pink stripes made the blankets look.

So woolly and warm and soft, not scratchy at all.  I sometimes sleep directly under the blanket itself and not the sheet first.  Somehow, the blanket itself, just one of them, gives me the correct amount of warmth over my burning-hot body, enough to keep the cool of the room from me but let my own body-heat through.

This osmosis – my favourite word – this osmosis . . .

But a mixture of personal stories there as weft and warp, my own joining too.

My mother – and letters of condolence at Smiler’s brother’s death . . .

This – an imperfection that attempts to say something.